Owing to the prevailing bad air quality in Delhi-NCR, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has chalked out a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for the region. The 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) touched 471 by 4 pm, the worst this season so far. It was 411 on Thursday. The city has been recording severe air quality from the last eight days after Diwali.
Under GRAP, the government, private offices and other establishments have been advised to reduce vehicle usage by 30 per cent, air quality situation to be monitored around the clocks and all the state government and agencies to step up an action plan. People are even advised to limit outdoor activities and minimize their exposure.
The layer of eye-stinging smog lingering over Delhi-NCR thickened on Friday, giving an orange tint to the sun and lowering visibility to 200 metres at several places in the region reeling under hazardous pollution levels since early November. Over 4,000 farm fires, accounted for 35 per cent of Delhi’s pollution on Friday.
According to an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), people in the national capital breathe the worst air between November 1 and November 15 every year. Faridabad (460), Ghaziabad (486), Greater Noida (478), Gurugram (448) and Noida (488) also recorded severe air quality at 4 pm. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the 24-hour average concentration of lung-damaging fine particles known as PM2.5 in Delhi-NCR crossed the 300 mark around midnight and stood at 381 micrograms per cubic metre at 4 pm (Friday), more than six times the safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre.